Vitamins in Pregnancy and Healthy Start

Vitamins are important when pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant for you and your new baby.

Eating a healthy, varied diet in pregnancy will help you get most of the vitamins and minerals you need. However, when you are pregnant you will need to take some supplements as well.

In pregnancy it is recommended that you take:

  • 10 micrograms of Vitamin D each day throughout your pregnancy - you should also carry on taking this after your baby is born

  • 400 micrograms of folic acid each day - you should take this when you are thinking of becoming pregnant until you are 12 weeks pregnant 

If you are pregnant and live in Greenwich you will receive Healthy Start vitamins for women for the duration of your pregnancy from your midwife

Healthy Start vitamins for women contain the recommended amount of vitamin D and folic acid for pregnant women.

NHS Choices gives more information on diet and vitamins in pregnancy. 




Healthy Start

Healthy Start is a national scheme that supports young children and their families to achieve a balanced diet.

Pregnant women, mums and dads who receive certain benefits will be eligible to receive money-off vouchers to spend on cow’s milk, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, and first infant formula as well as coupons to exchange for essential vitamins. 

All women under 18 who are at least 10 weeks pregnant are eligible for the scheme.

Each money-off voucher is worth £3.10; pregnant women and children over one and under four years old get one voucher per week worth £161.20 a year. Children under one year old can get two vouchers per week worth £322.40 a year.

Mums with a baby under one and children from four weeks – four years also receive coupons to swap for vitamins at their local Children’s Centre. 

If you receive Healthy Start vouchers and coupons during pregnancy you must re-register with the scheme once your baby is born.

If you are pregnant or have children under 4, you could qualify if you are on benefits or if you are pregnant and under 18. Check if you are eligible  on the Healthy Start website or ask your midwife, health visitor, or Children’s Centre. 

What is Healthy Start?

Healthy Start is a national scheme designed to support families on lower incomes achieve a balanced diet.

If you qualify for Healthy Start, you get free vouchers every week to spend on cows milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables and infant formula. You also get coupons for free vitamins. 

All women under 18 who are at least 10 weeks pregnant qualify for the scheme. Women over the age of 18, who are at least 10 weeks pregnant and families with children under four years old qualify if the family is receiving one of the following benefits:

  •          Income Support

  •          Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  •          Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

  •          Child Tax Credit only, and annual income is £16,190 or less. However you can still qualify if you are receiving the four week Working Tax Credit 'run-on' because you are no longer treated as being in full-time work.

 Both women under 18 and over 18 must re-register for Healthy Start once their baby has been born.

Visit the Healthy Start website to learn how to apply.


Healthy Start vouchers

Each Healthy Start voucher is worth £3.10. Vouchers can be spent on milk, fresh and frozen plain fruits and vegetables as well as first infant formula milk.

Families eligible for Healthy Start vouchers also receive vitamin coupons every 8 weeks. These can be exchanged for Healthy Start vitamins at all Greenwich Children’s Centres. 

> Find out here if you are eligible for Healthy Start vouchers

Healthy Start vitamins

A healthy balanced diet is important for everyone and should provide most of the vitamins and minerals needed to keep us healthy.

However, pregnant women, new mothers and small children need to take certain vitamin supplements to support them during this period of rapid growth and development. 

Healthy Start vitamins can provide women and young children with the different vitamin and mineral supplements they need.

In Greenwich all pregnant women receive free Healthy Start vitamins for their whole pregnancy during booking in appointments with midwives.  

Healthy Start vitamins are available for women with babies up to one year and children aged four and under who are eligible for the Healthy Start scheme. Coupons are sent every eight weeks and can be exchanged for vitamins at any Greenwich Children’s Centre.

It is recommended all children under 5, pregnant women and mums with babies under 1 year take a daily vitamin D supplement even if they do not receive Healthy Start coupons. Speak to your health visitor, midwife or GP about the right supplement for you and your family.

> Download a Healthy Start application form here